Two things led one lawn care business owner to find success and they will help you as well. These two things are networks and education. By expanding your networks and your education, you will be able to take your business to a new level.
This lawn care business owner wrote us about his experience and said “we talk a lot about our desire to increase company profits here on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum and I would like to share my story on how I did it.
A fellow almost 30 years ago told me knowledge is power and that simple statement still resonates with me today. I live by that comment everyday with my lawn care business. The more you know, the more deals you will close. I say this based on feedback I get while on job sites. My customers will tell me that my bid was higher in price for a job than a competitor but our presentation and knowledge was far superior and because of that, they felt more comfortable in choosing us.
An important lesson you need to keep in mind, if you are planning on growing your lawn care business, is that you need to build relationships with others. You need to talk to people, ask questions and share your experiences. For example, we buy a lot of landscape materials from our local suppliers and try to build good working relationships with them. These relationships are important because you can learn a lot on how best to use their products, sell their product or even pick up jobs through their connections. If for what ever reason the relationship isn’t there, I will generally look elsewhere to buy. That is how important these relationships are to me.
I think the relationships we build with our clients is of the same importance. You have to build these relationships if you plan on growing. From there you will increase your network and find that you don’t waste time and money trying to find work.
The other thing which is key in this business is knowledge. Knowledge is power. Knowledge translates into sales. Last night on the way home, I stopped to give a quote on a post hole job which we do a lot of. When I got there I noticed a drainage issue they were having with their year. I explained to the customer before these posts are installed, they must first deal with their water issue. In short, we walked away with $12,000 in work and the client was ecstatic they finally found someone to fix their soggy back yard.
You see in this case, no matter how deep I drilled holes, once winter hit and the ground froze, the posts which would have been in concrete would have either cracked or move up. This I know based on experience and from reading. To illustrate my point, I used the customer’s retaining wall as an example. Aside from not being built properly, the water is pushing it out, and it’s only three years old.
This morning after I woke, I received an email from this customer telling me, they wanted a quote to fix the wall while we are there. I had already measured it (being proactive is 2nd nature to me) and wrote them back. I explained the process which would have to take place to repair the wall and gave a quote for $6,200.
My employees watch how I bid jobs and ask me ‘how do you get every friggin job we look at and then you walk away with projects we didn’t even know we were about to see.’ I simply reply ‘it’s really not difficult to do, you just need to keep your eye’s and ears wide open. You can do everything I do.’
But this is where the experience comes into play. Take the time to read books, search the Internet, and maybe buy or rent video’s from the library. If you want to move from eating hotdogs and working yourself into the ground, to coming home and eating steak at 5pm, then there is a process of learning, marketing and selling you have to get through and when you do, you will be all smiles.
In my opinion and experience, you can’t build a successful lawn care / landscaping company and be successful without having a good base knowledge from reading or having someone on staff next to you with that knowledge. How can you look at a lawn or project and bid it and talk like we are experienced if you haven’t done your homework? By homework I mean reading, asking questions etc.
People also read us, sometimes like a book and if they feel that we may not know our stuff, they will hire someone they feel more comfortable with. It is our responsibility to leave a prospects house with them having a good feeling about our lawn care company.
As we read and learn, one of the things that changes is our self confidence. We will gain the ability to give a quote on the spot and then follow it up in writing. People see this as a sign of experience and it facilitates a comfort level which in turn allows the relationship to begin.
You do not need to know everything. If for example you are looking at a weed issue and are baffled by it, you will need a reference to resolve the issue. To do this, keep a picture book on local weeds with you so that you know what you are up against, as you are going to see it again sooner or later. Educate yourself on dealing with these local weeds. This educating will allow you to speak with confidence and win jobs.
Look for other services you can offer as well. I do not pressure sell, I simply say we can look after these issues and if it’s ok with you I will give you a quote for each and you can think about it. I explain the process in detail for each project, give a rough estimate although my estimates are firm unless we run into issues beyond what we can see, which also happens. We almost always walk away with the work, or the client calls us back in stages.
So remember to build networks and continue to educate yourself.”
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